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Nelson Mandela's Daughter Lashes Out At Media Coverage Of Father's Health, Blames "Racist Element"

"The fact that my dad is a global icon ... does not mean that people cannot respect the privacy and dignity of my dad."

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In a heated interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Makaziwe Mandela scolds the foreign media — particularly CBS — for, among other things, camping outside her father's hospital.

"There's sort of a racist element with many of the foreign media, where they just cross boundaries. You have no idea what's happening at the hospital ... You can't even enter hospital or you can't even go out of the hospital because they are making themselves such a nuisance. It's like truly vultures waiting when the lion has devoured the buffalo, waiting there for the last carcass. That's the image that we have as a family. And we don't mind the interest, but I just think it has gone overboard ...

"When Margaret Thatcher was sick in hospital, I didn't see this kind of media frenzy around Margaret Thatcher, where people cross boundaries ... Is it because we are an African country that people just feel they can't respect any laws of this country, they can violate everything in the book? I just think it's in bad taste — it's crass."

Without going into detail, Mandela also gives an update on her father's health. "He doesn't look good," she said. "I'm not going to lie. But I think that for us, as his children and grandchildren, we still have this hope because, you know when we talk to him, he will flutter trying to open his eyes ... When you touch him, he still responds."

Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Testa at

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